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Archive for July 11th, 2008

What is the difference between Kimunya and Kajwang?

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

Kimunya resigned. That was the honourable thing to do.

We expect the same with Kajwang.

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Kamunya Resigned! Raila should ask his tribesman Kajwang to resign also!

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

Kajwang on the spot

Story by MUGO NJERU

Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang approved work permits for a foreign welder and a salesman against the advice of senior immigration officials, according to documents seen by the Nation.

Mr Otieno Kajwang at a press conference during his first day as the Immigration minister. He has been accused of giving work permits to a welder and salesman despite being urged not to do so by key ministry officials. Photo/FILE

The Director of Immigration Services had opposed the issuance of the work permits arguing that there were enough Kenyans with the skills and there was no need to allow the foreigners to work in Kenya.

In both cases, Mr Kajwang responded: I have noted the comments of DIS. I have interviewed the applicant. I hereby grant a further two years work permit.

Later Day Saints

Mr Kajwang had earlier given similar permits to eight members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.

The Nation first broke the story about investigations into the Ministry of Immigration on Monday.

But responding Thursday, Mr Kajwang denied any wrongdoing and said he had always acted within the law. He also denied allegations that he was involved in corrupt deals. According to him, the law gave the Immigration minister he ultimate powers to issue work permits and citizenship documents.

Mr Kajwang had been accused of ignoring technical advice from his juniors before issuing permits arbitrarily to foreigners with questionable character and backgrounds.

He was also accused of issuing work permits to members of a controversial church and foreigners with questionable education backgrounds.

But on Thursday, he challenged those making the allegations to produce tangible evidence and I will surely resign.

I wonder who my accusers are since nobody has come forward with any documents showing that I acted in a corrupt manner, Mr Kajwang told a press conference held at his Nyayo House office.

Overlooked advice

The minister said he overlooked the advice of his Permanent Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Kisombe and the Director of Immigration of Services (DIS), Mr Joseph Nduati, in granting work permits to eight members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because I saw no reason to deny them entry.

The application was from church missionaries who wanted to come to Kenya to preach and support some development activities in the country. I have a soft spot for people who preach, Mr Kajwang said.

At the time, the Nation reported that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission was conducting investigations into mega corruption at the Immigration department.

Sources close to the investigation told the Nation that top officials at the department have been mentioned in the investigations and were likely to be charged in court.

Detectives have been perusing records obtained from the department on Friday last week following reports that foreigners were being issued with entry and work permits after bribing senior officials.

The anti-graft officials have so far discovered that large amounts of money change hands daily in the underhand deals at Nyayo House, the departments headquarters in Nairobi.

They have so far established that corrupt officers have been demanding at least Sh100,000 for every application and applicants who failed to comply had their requests blocked.

On Thursday, Mr Kajwang wondered why the permits had become an issue yet the Director of Immigration had initially issued permits to 10 of the church members.

According to him, he was persuaded that the other eight members who had appealed against Mr Nduatis decision had met the criteria.

I disregarded the advice of the immigration office because the members (of the church) had no criminal record, the minister said.

According to the Immigration Act, an applicant whose request for a permit is rejected can appeal to the minister whose decision is final. Using his discretion, the minister can uphold the decision made by his officers or overrule it.

My judgment in issuing the permits could be wrong. However, the facts that I had at the time is that they were good people. If they are later found not to be good people then the law will take its course, Mr Kajwang said.

Allegation of impropriety against the Minister came two days after his Finance colleague, Mr Amos Kimunya, stepped aside to pave way for investigations over the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

On Thursday, Mr Kajwang defended the issuance of permits to foreigners seeking jobs which could be done by Kenyans. He said in many instances, investors demanded to have some of their trusted countrymen fill certain positions in their businesses.

We need to allow them to come along with few of their countrymen to fill certain positions. If we do not do this they will simply go and invest in another country, he said.

In one instance according to the documents, the minister granted a two-year work permit to a Bachelor of Commerce degree holder to work in a retail store contrary to the advice given by Mr Nduati and PS Kisombe.

The minister also denied ignoring technical advice saying he had concurred with his officers in many instances and upheld their decisions on various appeals.

Mr Adan Hassan, whose Ethiopian wife had been seeking citizenship for the last eight years, lodged a complaint at the ministry, saying the delay had caused their family psychological torture.

Mr Hassans case is one of controversial cases handled by Mr Kajwang in which the minister overruled Mr Nduati and ordered him to grant Elizabeth Tadile Abe (Hassans wife) citizenship status.

Mr Hassan said despite the ministers instructions his wife was yet to be granted citizenship.

More damning evidence has emerged on Cabinet minister Otieno Kajwangs excesses at the ministry.

Investigations by the Nation have revealed that Mr Kajwang went out of his way to ensure that a welder from a foreign country was granted a two-year work permit despite being advised against it by Mr Ndathi last month.

According to documents, Mr Ndathi had advised the minister against the move.

These are skills that are plenty in the local Kenyan labour market. The application was rejected by the Entry Work Permit Steering Committee on this basis. Appeal is not recommended, Mr Ndathi had said in a letter to the minister.

But Mr Kajwang, even in the absence of Mr Kisombe went ahead and granted two years work permit to the welder.

There are 750 polytechnics across the country which churn out thousands of students to the job market every year. Many of these polytechnics offer welding courses.

On June 20, the day he granted the welder the work permit, he also dished out another to a middle level manager working at a factory in Nairobis Industrial Area.

Entry permit

Mr Ndathi had earlier indicated that the appellant had only been granted a one year dual entry permit to allow him to hand over to a Kenyan. The permit expired last month.

It is my recommendation that this position be upheld in order to create employment for Kenyan citizens, Mr Ndathi told the minister on April 29.

But last month, Mr Kajwang wrote: I have noted the comments of the DIS. But after interviewing the applicant, I hereby grant a permit for two more years.

Sources at the ministry disclosed that the minister had approved scores of work permits which had earlier on been rejected by the immigration officers.

Additional reporting by Jeff Otieno and Fred Mukinda

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API/Nation.ke

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KISUMU CITY HEALTH MANAGEMENT BOARD LAUNCHED

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

BY JEFF OTIENO IN KISUMU

A management Board which will oversee and implement health issues in Kisumu City was launched today in a colourful ceremony in the Municipal Council chambers.

Members of both public and private sector were in attendance. Among them was the Managing Director of Mumias Sugar Company Dr. Evans Kidero (Private Sector).

Others were the Provincial Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jackson Kioko andKisumu City Mayor, Sam Okello.

The Secretary Dr. Rosemary Obara (MOH Kisumu City) who was also the convenor was in upbeat mood and appealed for support from all the stakeholders for the objective of the forum to be realised.

”Health indicators among the populace is on a downward trend and if it continues this way, soon we will face extinction”, Dr. Obara said in a statement.

The same sentiments were expressed by Dr. Kidero who reiterated that for any meaningful economic growth of a region, there has to be healthy and well fed resource persons.

”Unless we are vibrant and focussed, we’ll not attain our objectives within the enshrined time-frame”, Dr. Kidero quipped.

Dr. Obara concluded by urging the local political leaders and the private sector to exibit semblence of sustainability for the objective of the forum to be achieved as envisaged in the strategic plan.

On the prevailing cholera outbreak, Dr. Obara praised the government for its continued support to contain the disease. She further hailed institutions like UNICEF, CARE (K), World Vision and the Red Cross for their relentless partnership efforts to curb the rampant disease.

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API

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The World Bank is funding three priority sectors in Burkina Faso to the tune of $100 million, APA learnt here on Thursday from the Burkina economy and finance minister.

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

The World Bank is funding three priority sectors in Burkina Faso to the tune of $100 million, APA learnt here on Thursday from the Burkina economy and finance minister.

The bank is providing $15 million for the health sector in support of the fight against HIV/AIDS and control of meningitis epidemics in several districts.

The bank will provide another $15 million to support costs related to the implementation of a ten-year basic education development plan.

It will provide $70 million for the countrys participation in the West Africa Road Transport and Transit Facilitation Project.

The main objective of the project is to support NEPAD\s action plan in improving transport and transit facilities. Phase I of the project includes Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali.

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API/APA

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Liberian woman tells how fighters beheaded brother for refusing sex with her

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

A weeping woman has told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) public hearings which recommenced here about how fighters of the defunc ULIMO-J beheaded his brother after he refused to have sex with her.

Testifying Wednesday, surviovor Rebecca Marker said following the capture of the port city of Robertsport in northwestern Liberia in 1993, she and her brother fled the city, but that while escaping, they came across a check-point, where her brother was ordered to have sex with her.

Weeping bitterly, Rebecca said even though they threatened to kill him if he refused, her brother insisted, and instead pleaded with them to spare his life.

“After they failed to convince him to have sexual intercourse with me, one of the fighters lay him between my legs and slit his throat. The blood splashed all over my body.”

She said she wept bitterly as she left behind her brothers lifeless body and that upon reaching another group of fighters, she was raped and blunt objects stuck into her private part when they found fifty Liberians dollars – an enemy sign- on her.

She said the rebels accused her of being a spy for another faction and was beaten mercilessly, wounded all over her body and ordered her to strip naked and raped again.

“I begged them to leave me , but they could not. After they finally left me, I bled for three months, and I can still feel pain,” Rebecca concluded.

The Truth and reconciliation Commission (TRC) is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian confict, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and record all human rights abuses that occured in Liberia between 1979 and 2003.

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API/APA

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Teachers in Nigeria continue to strike after meeting government

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

Teachers in Nigeria\s public schools were still on strike on Thursday despite a meeting between their union and the federal government.

In a statement, the secretary-general of Nigerian Union of Teachers Obong Ikpe Obong said it was a good thing the federal government has seen the need to engage the union in dialogue.

\”Both sides have realized the need to do everything possible to bring the strike to an end so that schools can re-open,\” he said.

In a separate statement, the deputy director of information Salisu Na\inna Dambatta quoted the secretary to the government, Baba Gana Kingibe, saying both parties desire lasting solution to the crisis through dialogue.

Kingibe said they have \”reached a form of understanding over most of the issues involved and have drawn up a roadmap.

I believe that we have arrived at a form of engagement and understanding of issues involved and we have charted a forward, a road, which I believe will result in a resolution of the on-going impasse\”.

The striking teachers are demand ratification of a special salary structure by the government.

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API/APA

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Ivorian leaders meet in Burkina Faso to evaluate the peace process

Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2008

The main stakeholders in the Ivorian crisis will meet on Thursday in the Burkinabe capital “to assess the peace process since the government set the presidential proposed an election date to the independent electoral commission (CEI)”.

The peace process mediator, President Blaise Compaore will preside over the gathering as the protagonists of the Ivorian crisis recognise the slow implementation of the essential points of the March 2007 Ouagadougou political agreement.

The participants will discuss at length on financial constraints, according to a UN source close to the talks.

Ambassador Alcide Djedje will lead the presidential side while Alain Lobognon will head the delegation of the former rebels, known as the New Forces.

The November presidential election is expected to end the political and military crisis which broke out in September 2002 following a foiled coup by the New Forces against President Laurent Gbagbo.

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API/APA

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